Zoology Butterfly migration could be largest known

Discussion in 'Zoology' started by mscbkc070904, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    Millions of painted lady butterflies that fluttered into California's Central Valley in the last week of March could be just the advance guard of one of the largest migrations of the species on record, said Arthur Shapiro, a professor and expert on butterflies at UC Davis.

    "This may be the biggest migration of modern times," Shapiro said.

    Shapiro said he is getting reports of "billions" of butterflies around Trona, near Death Valley, and in the San Fernando Valley. More waves of butterflies are likely to appear in central California over the next few weeks as the insects take wing.

    Painted lady butterflies, known by the scientific name Vanessa cardui, spend the winter in the desert. As caterpillars turn into adults in the spring, they migrate north in search of fresh food and breeding grounds, powered by a supply of yellow fat they have built up over the winter.

    Painted ladies migrate every year, but usually less conspicuously and in far fewer numbers. This year, however, exceptionally high winter rainfall in southern California has created a bumper crop of plants for the caterpillars to eat, fuelling a population boom, Shapiro said.

    The butterflies take about three days to reach the Central Valley, and the current generation will fly as far as southern Oregon. Their offspring will fly on to reach British Columbia by summer, before heading south again in the fall.

    Source : University of California - Davis
  2. overrocked

    overrocked Premium Member

    I've seen a record amount of moths and butterflies this year, here in Arizona. My neighbor's China berry is blooming and every time a bird lands on a branch 8-10 moths scatter. The monacrchs look like they are in a hurry, but they took a break on the orange tree when it was blooming 2 weeks ago. I still see the monacrchs, but they are fleeting now.
  3. spacedoubt

    spacedoubt Member

    I think one of them was lost.
    I'm fairly close to the migration path.
    But I had to chase one out of the house a few nights ago.
    It was definitely the species.
    Poor thing was just roosting on the back of my house.
    For some reason it decided to come in, and flap around over the dinner table. Those dusty scales were floating over our dinner,
    couldn't taste them though..

    Oh, and yes, I did catch and release..LOL
  4. oddtodd

    oddtodd Premium Member

    I call them flutter by's cause that's what they do !

    I then turn into Homer and say mmmmmmm pretty....